Of any potential disaster threats that we face today, what is perhaps the scariest one is an EMP attack. In its full scale, an EMP attack has the potential of taking back our current lifestyle to about a century back, forcing us to lead a similar lifestyle to that of our forefathers. With the complete loss of electricity, most of our appliances would suddenly turn into useless junk with the infrastructure we so much depend on coming to a startling halt!
What would be affected by an EMP? Virtually all electric devices which are connected to an electrical outlet or charger during an EMP will all be damaged and probably rendered useless. Even electronic devices that are not connected to an electrical outlet will be fried, unless the are protected inside a faraday cage.
If statistics are anything to go by, the EMP commission predicts that within just the first year of a full-blow coast to coast EMP attack, 90% of Americans would die. How? Besides just the lack of access to essential amenities such as food due to lack of transport, hospitals would also be almost non-functional especially with vital machinery powered by electricity no longer operating.
What is particularly unique about the EMP attack is that it has the potential to destroy virtually anything that is connected to the electric grid. However, the most pertinent question is if electric-reliant devices are what would most be affected, does it mean that we can purchase battery-powered versions of all electric devices we own? Well, to answer this and much more questions about the EMP Attack and its impact, stick around.
What is an EMP?
Typically, an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) is an energy wave which happens naturally through solar flares and lightning strikes. Usually, it may also be induced as a secondary effect of nuclear. Also, it can be weaponized and utilized as a distinct military attack tactic.
Extremely powerful solar flares known as CMEs (coronal mass ejections) could result in an EMP-level catastrophic event if they were to hit the earth. However, the force of such an outburst would not destroy humans outright.
Generally, an EMP attack would likely be administered by a missile which is detonated high above a nation as opposed to a direct bomb blast. The subsequent magnetic energy it dispatched would crash the electric grid. While this may sound like just a typical massive power outage, it would, however, be a continual long-term catastrophe. In fact, as per the findings of a Congressional EMP Commission study, approximately a third of the entire population would perish within just a year of the massive EMP attack.
How Do EMPs Affect Electrical Systems?
An event as a result of a high altitude EMP (HEMP) or CME attack would occur in two distinct phases:
- First phase: a nuclear bomb blast over a state would dispatch an electromagnetic pulse from the detonation center of up to 1450 miles, instantly zapping any exposed electromagnetic gadget. It would be followed by a second wave to finish it.
- Secondary Phase: induced energy resulting from the initial blast would find its way into the extensive telecommunications and electronic wiring which crisscrosses the nation. This wiring would function like an antenna which sucks in the energy and sends it winding along its paths, subsequently burning everything on its path. This includes the power stations and electrical grids, with no feasible way to stop this. (How to prepare for long term power outages – full article)
The Aftermath of an EMP Attack
As per the report by the Commission, it would take an approximate 18 or more months to repair the grids, and that is if it could be done at all. Virtually all our public electric and communications networks are out of date as of now and unprotected from such an attack. It would as such be an impossible task to repair the global system with virtually no working systems to help do it.
The first to feel the effect would be the individuals relying on electric medical equipment such as life-support, dialysis, or oxygen recipients among others. What’s more, not only would we find it difficult to traverse across the nation to go to school or work, we would also not be able to retrieve our resources from the banks.
Is there anyone who is prepared for the EMP attack aftermath?
Yes… but only a few select groups and individuals. For instance, the US Air Force One, US Military as well as a few fellow preppers.
Would an EMP attack affect batteries? Well, fortunately, most batteries can survive an EMP attack notwithstanding the magnitude without getting damaged. This applies to all sorts of batteries including lithium-ion, nickel metal hydride, alkaline, and lead-acid batteries. The only exception would perhaps be the complex battery modules boasting in-built charge controllers.
How Would an EMP Affect Batteries?
Batteries should effectively survive the aftermath of an EMP attack unharmed even without any protective gear or any other measures in place. Nonetheless, it cannot hurt to follow a few precautions to guarantee their survival.
For a significant part, batteries have their unique faraday cages.’ Batteries outer portion is made of metal, and they feature no circuits or wires inside that can fry. The problem, however, is that many of us have grown so reliant on electronics that virtually nothing is powered by traditional batteries anymore. Most, if not all, of our gadgets which feature battery backups, also boast microchips and circuit boards. While batteries alone should be well sorted, however, modern devices with batteries within them need safeguarding.
What about cars?
All cars that feature electronic ignition, as well as computerized parts, will get damaged if not wholly fired in the event of an EMP. Typically, most modern vehicles feature several automated components. Most if not all cars built from 1980 onwards have electronic components.
However, not all cars will be affected by the EMP attack-although this mostly depends on when they were created. However, most vehicles running on the road at the occurrence of the EMP attack will immediately go off, hence the reason why numerous individuals will instantly lose their lives if the attack affects the whole nation.
With this in mind, it, however, depends on the EMP device’s strength with regards to whether vehicles will function after the EMP. According to the findings of various controlled tests conducted, it was found that cars could initially shutoff on the eve of the EMP attack but would later somehow run again.
Besides typical cars, other vehicles like motorcycles, ATVs, planes and many others that comprise computerized components will also be destroyed by the EMP.
What about hybrid/electric vehicles? Unfortunately, these types of cars will indeed be wiped off by an EMP. Even in the event they somewhat miraculously do survive, the distinct electrical outlets that power them will certainly not.
What Items Would be Affected EMP Attack?
1. Everything connected to the power grid/charger:
Virtually all electric devices which are connected to an electrical outlet or charger during an EMP will all be toast.
All heaters (except for DIY Heaters only) and in particular electric heaters are of course going to be fried also. This is primarily because the electronically-operated pumps, electronic control circuits, as well as ignitor transformers will all be rendered non-functional.
3. Solar Panels:
With solar panels, there is no one-for-all answer, it is quite complicated and here is why: while solar panels can effectively withstand an EMP attack, the solar charger controller which charges the batteries, as well as the voltage inverter which converts the power from the battery, will all be in pathetic shape if not completely fried.
Unless you own another solar charger controller and voltage inverter well safeguarded in a unique Faraday Cage, you can be sure that your solar panels will not function that well.
4. Battery Powered Devices:
Just like with solar panels, when it comes to battery-powered devices, they are expected to survive the aftermath of an EMP effectively. However, there are several conditions to be fulfilled to guarantee this (and this is inclusive of your phone).
First, for battery-powered devices to survive the EMP, they need not be connected to the electrical outlet or charger on your wall in any manner, form, or way.
What’s more, on the wake of an EMP attack, these devices should be in a concrete or metal structure which could primarily function as a makeshift Faraday Cage. However, if at the time of the EMP attack/blast you are outside with your device, then they will most probably get damaged, if not completely fried.
This does not just affect your phone, but it also includes tablets, phones, as well as items like flashlights (hence the need to keep quite a number of candles on hand to serve as backup).
5. Computer Operated Homes
In recent time, the popularity of smart homes has taken the world by storm. However, in case of an EMP attack, these types of households (computerized homes) will not fare any good. This is to say that all your touch screen and voice-activated home appliances will not be in a good functional state after the EMP happens and this is courtesy of the fact that they are structured out of solid-state material.
6. The Power Grid
While this is not necessarily an everyday item, it is, however, something which we depend on virtually every single day.
The power grid is expected to be effectively wiped off in the wake of an EMP especially one that goes off within a particular radius, or even perhaps the entire nation; provided it is sufficiently robust and is released high enough in the atmosphere.
What Everyday Items Will Survive The EMP?
As opposed to a hurricane which you can predict or watch over the news for weeks before it finally hits you or like a tornado with a miss and hit localized damage, it is quite different with an EMP attack-it will be sudden and definitely without any warning!
Items which are most probably going to survive the aftermath of an EMP are batteries as well as electronics which either protected by barriers or hardened pre-attack.
However, there are a few surprising items which will likely also survive the aftermath including: non-digital appliances, (like older washing machines) cars built before year 2002 (with no computerized components), vintage electronics (like vintage radios), and virtually anything solar or battery-powered (including tablets, cell phones, as well as solar panels). Why and how would they survive? Here is a close look…
1. Solar Panels:
As we had noted earlier, despite the fact that solar charger controllers and voltage inverters of solar panels may not survive an EMP attack, the solar panels, however, should come off reasonably unharmed.
2. Older Cars:
If you own a car that was made before the 1990s, there is a great possibility that it will survive the aftermath of an EMP. Since this time, the overall number of electronic circuitry and microprocessors has substantially increased.
There are several old models and makes of vehicles that should survive just fine. Some of these cars include Toyota Hilux pickups, GMC Blazers, Chevrolet Blazers, Jeep Cherokees, Ford Broncos, as well as Land Rovers among other car models which were made before 1990 (or as is with the case with Broncos and Blazers, before 1985).
3. Simple Electronic Devices:
Any typical electronic device which lacks the solid state controls standard with modern vehicles should escape harm after an EMP. Some of the common examples include generators, power tools, and appliances among others.
Although virtually every solid state control is expected to be damaged after an EMP, all the other components in those gadgets should remain in good condition. Just ensure that you have none of these devices connected to an electric charger or the electrical grid; otherwise, they WILL indeed get fried.
4. Battery Powered Devices:
Again, as earlier mentioned, battery-powered gadgets which are not connected to electric chargers or the power grid should also effectively survive the aftermath of an EMP.
All these items would need to be disconnected at the time of the attack, with any vulnerable parts safeguarded from the initial EMP wave.
In essence, there is nothing like being over-prepared. Even if the EMP attack never really happens (which we should hope never happens at all), it is better to be safe than sorry. What’s more, it is also a great idea to get as many other individuals both prepared and informed about this as much as possible.